The Methods of Propaganda
As an American, one of my biggest concern is how the "Free Tibet" movement has managed to spread so much falsehood in America. It indicates many weaknesses in the American system.
While we were concerned about Watergate, the Lewinsky scandal, the Chinese espionage, are we neglecting what another foreign group--the Tibetans lead by a monk declared a god king by his people - is doing to us?
In this article I will go through my analysis of a very sophisticated propaganda campaign geared to infiltrate the American public perception. I think it's a very important issue for all of the Americans to consider. How secure really is our nation against such a multi-pronged propaganda? To me, we are now living a "Truman's Show". So much of the truth is hidden from the average Americans. The way this state of public misconception can be accomplished rings danger to the future of our nation.
The following methods can almost be used by any foreign political group out to influence America:
1) Propaganda through American journalists:
The Tibet issue first came to my attention when I identified the gross lie spread by a "Tibetan refugee woman" to an American journalist. For the details of this case, please read Through the Eye of a Forgotten Minority. It was pretty shocking to me to find out that a group of Chinese minority people have decided that they were not part of China, and that the entire population of the Chinese people were "fooled by the school systm". This liar showed herself to be one of most calculated intent. Not only was she going to lie to the American public; she wanted to discredit any arguments from all 1.2 billion of the Chinese population.
It was incredulous to me that many Americans bought her line. When I tried to tell them that China was a multiple-ethnic country, some proceeded to tell me that I was "brainwashed" by my "school system.
"I came away saying to myself, "Do they even agree that I, a Mongolian Chinese, actually exist?"
Ignoring facts such as the existence of massive minority ethnic people in central China can be dangerous to your health! Joking aside. Let me re-iterate. Over 800 years of integration, there are at least 10% of the central China population that are of various minority ethnicity. For a comparison of the number of Tibetan population in Tibet versus the massive number of Tibetans in central China, see "Where Did All The Tibetans Go?
"A group that dares to go to the extent of erasing this fact from the eye of the American people, by claiming that "the school system fooled the Chinese people", is treating the Americans badly, with their own selfish intentions. I for one will not stand for it.Dr. George Koo, a director of the Committee of 100 for Chinese Americans, felt the same way when he read the same news report on this Tibetan refugee. He informed me that he wrote a letter to the very newspaper to correct this misinformation, but his letter was never published.
Why? Why was the U.S. press all too willing to ignore the words of a responsible Chinese American, but chooses to devote a major article to a Tibetan refugee's lies. How is this serving truth in reporting to the American people?
The more I thought over the issue, my feeling was: Our newspapers and TV news live on sales. Blood, gore and tears on the headline generate sales and ratings. The exiled Tibetans give them a sad story that calls for compassion, and the angle was easy. Dr. Koo's letter was logical, but contains no violence to grab a headline.
I find that to be a worrisome problem for America. We pride ourselves on our freedom of speech. Yet this freedom is really not just to "speak", but to be "heard". When the mainstream newspapers choose to only present the sensational news in order to gain market strength, then we as a nation have lost a bit of our firm foundation on how to steer ourselves toward truthful knowledge.
Allow me to share with you more of my discoveries on how this group goes out to deceive America:
2) Propaganda through popular culture:
The Free Tibet Concerts chanted that Buddhism is dying, the Tibetan culture is being destroyed. The fact is Buddhism lives in many parts of the world. Please check
http://www.khamaid.org for how China is working to support the Tibetan culture.
(As a side note: It's my observation that China works on preservation for all minority cultures within China, not just the Tibetans. A childhood friend of mine told me her father-in-law is famous for having written books on minority groups living in the Yunnan province.)
Hollywood movies such as "Seven Years In Tibet" were promoted heavily on the Dalai Lama's official web site. Yet few paid attention to the passages in the book that dealt with the true nature of the Tibetan branch of Buddhism. Most branches of Buddhism do not have a god king. The Dalai Lama is a god king, who represents an eternal feudalism of nobility over the masses. Little wonder the Nazi author gets along well with the Dalai Lama. Hitler probably would have been drooling over the Dalai Lama's station in life. According to one passage in the book Seven Years In Tibet: the Dalai Lama stayed over at a "governor's mansion", and "no mortal will ever again inhabit" that mansion, that "any place the Dalai Lama stayed was automatically consecrated as a chapel". The author reported this event through the dewy eye of romanticism.
How many Americans will consider the Pope our friend if the Pope's occupancy in one of our hotels, thereby consecrating it to a chapel?
Yet popular culture is one way to romanticize and glorify something that is truly sick to the core. Why are Americans being persuaded to support a god king that owned serfs whose sons he took away as "tax"? (See "Tibetans and the Cultural Revolution").
3) Influence through encyclopedias:
As I began doing research on Tibet, I started by consulting one of my electronic encyclopedias. While the encyclopedia had some good information, I noticed that in a later year, the new version became more pro-Tibetan. Links pointed to the Dalai Lama's web sites, but the encyclopedia offered no alternative views. An encyclopedia is what the majority of the American students employ as they do their learning. What better way to infiltrate the young American mind through? I wonder if certain pro-Tibet groups may have written to the encyclopedia publishers to enable this prong of propaganda.
I'd like to ask the question: Do we, in American, have any mechanism in defense over this type of infiltration on our students' minds?
4) Propaganda with the backing of the America government:
This is unfortunate, but in the earnest battle against communism, the CIA played right into the hands of the power-hungry Tibetan aristocrats.
The CIA paid for Tibetan delegations to travel to Geneva to press their case before international organizations. Some of the Tibetan aid groups were CIA -created fronts. Others were legitimate organizations that had been penetrated by CIA agents, who eagerly pushed the Tibetan human rights cause.
"It makes me wonder. How many of the news items passed out by these organizations are trustworthy? Is it the Truman's World? Or Wag the Dog? What good is this doing for the humankind? Or for our countrymen who live under illusions?
The article said, this "human rights campaign, launched as a CIA Cold War propaganda operation, endures.
"As much as I'm against communism, I think working against it by instigating ethnic unrest in China is the wrong way to go. Working against communism by supporting a theocratic system is even worse.
By doing so, we are not fighting against communism, but hurting those Chinese people who love their multiple ethnic culture, and those who sincerely want to have democracy.
5) Propaganda with the backing of American Congress:
This is an article from Associated Press:
"Report: CIA Funded Tibetan Movement
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The CIA provided the Tibetan exile movement with $1.7 million a year and paid the Dalai Lama a subsidy of $180,000 annually during the early 1960s, the Los Angeles Times reported today.
The decade-long covert program to support the Tibetan independence movement was part of the CIA's worldwide effort to undermine Communist governments, particularly in the Soviet Union and China, the newspaper said.
Citing declassified historical documents released last month by the State Department, the Times said that the CIA helped support Tibetan guerrillas in Nepal, a military training site in Colorado, Tibetan causes in New York and Geneva, education for Tibetan operatives at Cornell University and supplies for reconnaissance teams.
'The purpose of the program ... is to keep the political concept of an autonomous Tibet alive within Tibet and among foreign nations, principally India, and to build a capability for resistance against possible political developments inside Communist China,' according to a memo written by top U.S. intelligence officials.
Tibetan exiles and the Dalai Lama have claimed for years that the CIA supported their cause. But until now, Washington has refused to release any information about its Tibetan intelligence operations.
By 1968, the CIA dropped its training programs inside the United States and cut the program's budget to below $1.2 million a year, the Times said. The support finally ended in the early 1970s after the Nixon administration's diplomatic opening to China.
In recent years, Congress has approved about $2 million annually in funding for Tibetan exiles in India. Congress also has urged the Clinton administration to spend another $2 million for democracy activities among Tibetans, the newspaper said.
Copyright 1998 The Associated Press
"Our Congress continues to fund the Tibetan exiles with $2 million annually. That's our tax dollars, some of which mine, going into supporting a theocratic, ethnic segregationist group. This group spreads propaganda using this fund all of the world. This movement is trying to say that China is a mono-ethnic country, that people like me, a Mongolian Chinese, do not exist. They are erasing my identity, while at the same time, fool many Americans into believing them. Where should I ask for help? When my own Congress is financially supporting this group?
I had never felt any racial prejudice toward me as a Chinese American until I came upon the Tibet movement. When I tried to state my own heritage as a Mongolian Chinese Americans, some Americans under the Tibetan influence accused me of being "a Chinese communist agent". That was one of the highest insults to me as a Chinese American.
Many Chinese Americans are now upset at the way we are treated by some of our fellow Americans. While we support ethnic segregation in another country such as China, we will eventually cause the ethnic resentment in our own country. This much Buddhist concept of karma is true.
6) Using American politicians and celebrities:
One way the Tibetans use to gain the Americans' trust is to employ star power. They have the help of Richard Gere, a devoted Buddhist. Hollywood luminaries and rock stars join in the effort of "Free Tibet" under the false illusion that it is "a good cause".
America's adoration in celebrities can become a weakness for the exploitation of a foreign group. It's a very convenient way to gain trust. After all, some of the most famous Americans support this. It must be true.
We can not afford this kind of mentality in America. It opens us up to danger. Another foreign group may come along and use the same tactics to manipulate us in other ways. For e.g., it can be a manipulation of our stock market by giving a few celebrities huge profits. When the public follows into the same venture, the bottom may fall out. Infomercial is already well-used on our TV.
For the use of our politicians, please read: "My View on Congressman Wolf's Visit to Tibet".
7) The Internet:
One of the chief Tibet Independence movement propaganda sites is www.tibet.org. This site claims it's using Internet as a way to level the playing field to fight against the Chinese government's "vast resources". It baffles me a bit, probably because I haven't browsed many Chinese government sites at all. The Tibetan site actually shows a vast organization of international groups. Books, films, CDs that show Tibet to be all the vogue of a cause for people to follow. Given that our Congress forwards the Tibetan exiles $2 million a year, I for one would like to see a statement of where the $2 million goes. While we audit our presidential candidates' financial statements, are we not unreasonable to request where our $2 million is being spent?
Our Congress is willing to send money to a group that misrepresents the multiple ethnic heritage of the Chinese Americans. Meanwhile, the Chinese Americans are forced to find our own ways to set up small free web sites such as Journey East in the hopes that our view can be heard on the Internet.
8) Influencing our youth:
In 1998, I saw posts on the AOL boards from "SFT: Students for a Free Tibet" soliciting people to subscribe to a email newsletter to become "educated" about Tibet. I signed up for the newsletter, and began receiving an email once a week. Most of the content of the email were false history of Tibet, presenting China as a mono-ethnic nation that invaded Tibet, which was of a pure, distinct race of Tibetans. The more I read, the more I feel the Tibet movement is very much akin to the "Aryan Nation". One ethnic group has decided they want to remain pure, and view the other ethnic groups in the country as "polluting" their culture". Yet many young Americans bought the story of Tibet being a "nation", and were motivated to help.
The SFT site contains materials urging our college students to carry out actions to help the Tibetan cause.
Have a "demonstration" broken up by other members of your group dressed as People's Liberation Army soldiers. The soldiers attack the demonstrators, destroy or confiscate their signs, and drag off the demonstrators. The soldiers then loudly announce to passersby "Once again, China has successfully crushed the Tibetan resistance". Have chapter members in SFT shirts distribute information following the action. Consider holding one of the abductees prisoner until you reach a target number of signatures on petitions, reinforcing the notion that signatures do help free political prisoners. Stage the action in a central location with a large audience.
"When I read this, it reminded me of how the communists won the civil war in China. They used to have street theaters where students would act out a scene of a landlord beating up a peasant girl. It garnished much public sympathy for the communist movement in China.
It's sad to see that our young people in America now are being urged to do what the communists used to do, by a group of Tibetans.
Another suggested action by SFT is:
Organize outreach to local schools
"Tibet Education Network has developed some excellent curricular materials about Tibet for grades K-12.
Contact them at:
Tibet Education Network
P.O. Box 30094
Seattle WA 98103
"While we worry about the alleged Chinese espionage, how many of us are concerned that another foreign political group is distributing "educational" material to our K-12 kids? Is there a checking or guarding system in our schools to prevent this type of infiltration of our education system? I find it ironic that, while these exiled Tibetans claim "the Chinese school system fooled the Chinese people", they are attempting to fool the kids in America. While the Chinese people have real-life experience in multiple-ethnicity to prevent them from being fooled by the Tibetan propaganda, the American children do not have this real-life experience. What can we do against this intentional infiltration of our school system by a foreign group under the disguise of "education"?
9) Manipulate public opinion:
One of the Free Tibet supporters posted an excerpt of a recent interview of the Dalai Lama, who inadvertently let on what his movement's main thrust is:
"Q: So what does Your Holiness ask us to do, in the West, to effectively support the Tibetan cause?
Dalai Lama: According to our past experience, I consider public opinion the ultimate source of our hope. If public opinion increases in a favorable way, then it is automatically reflected in the media. And that gives inspiration for more support, more concern, in Parliament or Congress. It certainly gives the government a new enthusiasm. I have found this in many countries, very much in Europe. Because public opinion is so favorable, so strong, the media is very favorable, very supportive. So ultimately, it gives the government enthusiasm to want to help in a practical way. At this moment we are appealing to various governments to pursue the Chinese government to start meaningful negotiations without preconditions. That's my main thrust at this point. After 1959, the early sixties, the U.S. government supported the Tibetan cause. But without public grassroots support, governments can easily change their policies. Now the public support we are receiving is very considerable. And it actually comes from the public. This cannot change overnight. Government policy always has the possibility of change, but public sympathy remains there. So in the long run, I feel public opinion is very important. People can help if they increase the activities of Tibetan support groups in various parts of the world and in the United States. Just now, there is a very important movement beginning among the university students."
"The "important movement" he speaks of is Student for A Free Tibet. SFT is filled with claims that Tibet was an "independent country". SFT is the Tibetan exiles' way to influence our young, to build a future for the TI movement in the next century. This is why I want to point out the danger of this movement and its propaganda methods. It is a danger to the future peace of the world.
I immigrated to the U.S. back in 1966, at the age of 15. When I first came to the country, I stepped right into the height of the Vietnam war. One of my most vivid memory of being in high school in America in 1968 was a debate in our social studies class on the Vietnam war. While some intellectual type kids argued against the war, one football player smiled, put his hand over his chest, and said, "I don't care what you all say. I will serve my country." Till this day I remember the glow on his face, the ease of his smile.
Many Americans were compassionate and wanted to help Vietnam. In the end, the Vietnam war became costly to America. As a child who had grown up in Taiwan, I appreciated very much how the Americans had helped to fight communism, yet I saw the price of the fight, the pain and anguish to families who lost their sons. To me, America was the most compassionate country in the world, but she needed to gauge facts carefully.
As I discovered now, 31 years after my immigration - in 1997, that the Tibetan movement was lying to the American public, a part of me became very concerned. I know that Tibet is indeed part of China. But if the Americans are misled to support a Tibet independence movement, China will never back down. Why?
The Chinese people have always viewed China as a traditional country with a 4000-year-old history. Just as Princess Di once said she wished to be "the People's Princess", there is a "People's China". This "people's China" transcends any current government. There is an old saying in China: "The dynasties change, but the generations stay eternal." To most of the Chinese people, the communists are the current government, but China will remain even if the communist government falls. To these very same people, the multiple ethnic nature of China is eternal. It is the soul of China, the blood and bone of her 4000 year old culture.
Since the 19th century, China had suffered through the Opium War, the humiliation of having European colony areas on the Chinese soil, the Japanese invasion, and a puppet Manchurian state goaded by the Japanese that collapsed shortly thereafter. Her people are in love with her multiple ethnic culture, and are now very much on guard against losing it. If China sees the West as threatening the soul of her culture, she will confront the West to the highest extreme due to her past sufferings.
Attempts to misrepresent her culture, and her legal boundary established for over 300 years during the Qing Dynasty, are not looked upon kindly by most of the Chinese people. The legality is such that Hong Kong is returned to China after the Qing Dynasty signed a treaty to lease Hong Kong to the British. As I pondered the Tibet issue, it became clear to me that either the West will understand China, or she may go to war defending her land.
As the days went by, I saw many of our students are affected by the Tibet Freedom concerts, and joined the Student for A Free Tibet organizations. I saw web sites of Student for A Free Tibet being put up by the Brown University, Stanford University. These are students that will become the leaders of our country in the future. If we don't do something about this multiple-pronged Tibetan propaganda now, our next generation of Americans will be at odds in a very tragic way with the next generation of Chinese leaders.
Thoughts came to me as I watched the high school graduation of my son, and the sunlight washed over the youthful grads: They all looked so happy now. What would the 21st century be like if there is a war between the U.S. and China? How many of these kids will die? How many will live?
While I myself may not live long enough to see it, I can not rest with the thought of a war in the next century over Tibet in my mind. Our country, America, has come through many trials. We have a set of basic foundation which we must uphold and guard against foreign influences. We must guard against a foreign political group such as the Dalai Lama's. They utilize our journalists, our culture, our celebrities, our Congress, our tax dollars, our encyclopedias, and our students, for their own cause. This is a nightmare for America. This is what bothers me most about the Tibet movement. I hope some of the wiser Americans will do their own research, and come to learn the truth.
copyright reserved by the author